31 Dec

Housatonic CC Director Killed in Florida Car Crash

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Bridgeport, CT. Word has been received that Housatonic Community College Acting Director of Education Technology Jose Labrador was killed in a car crash in Miami, Florida, on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Also in the car was Labrador’s wife, Gisela Gil-Egui, a member of Fairfield University faculty, and her mother and brother. Jose Labrador and his wife were residents of Bridgeport.

Labrador, 52 years of age, had been a member of the HCC staff since 2007. He was currently responsible for HCC’s online education and the primary source of support for the program. He was an alumnus of the Art Institute of Philadelphia with a Bachelor of Science degree and was currently working on a Master’s degree.

Dr. Paul Broadie, HCC president, stated, “Jose was a beloved member of the Housatonic community and an asset to our institution. In a kind and gentle way, he touched and influenced the individuals he came in contact with. At this sad time, Jose’s family are in our thoughts and prayers. This is a very tragic loss for the whole Housatonic community. We will hold a Memorial for Jose at the college once the Spring term commences.”

Dr. William Brown, HCC Acting Dean of Academic Affairs, said, “I don’t have the words to express how saddened I am at the death of our colleague and friend, Jose Labrador. Beyond being an amazing resource and support for all of our students, faculty and staff, Jose was simply a good patient, and kind man. We have lost someone special.”

For additional photos and information, please click here.

36 comments

  • posted by Myra Healy Monday, 18 January 2016 16:17

    I have been reading the postings of memories of Jose and I am so saddened by everyone's feelings of loss. Jose was always so kind and patient so many times as I learned how to navigate Blackboard and all computer issues. As a some-time adjunct for the last 20 years, I feel so blessed to have known Jose. This is really tragic news. Thank you this opportunity to leave a message. .

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  • posted by Vanessa Reid Tuesday, 12 January 2016 14:21

    Life is too short. Praying that his family may find peace with time. Nothing hurts worst than losing a love one. R.I.P.

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  • posted by Wanda L. Mwalwanda Thursday, 07 January 2016 16:37

    I am speechless. Words cannot begin to express my emotions and the chills that I am feeling as I read about this news today & I sit to write this. Jose has helped me with every possible online problem that I have encountered while a student at HCC. He was always kind and extremely patient with me, especially during all the times that I would forget my login information. He will definitely be missed. My condolences to his family.

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  • posted by Eleanor Bloom Wednesday, 06 January 2016 15:14

    Such an inspiring soul is Jose. He leaves behind a profound presence. It will be such an honor to contribute to a scholarship in his honor.

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  • posted by Andrew Bednarik Wednesday, 06 January 2016 03:54

    A kind, gentle, giving man who was always there for students and faculty, Jose was an inspiration on how to give of oneself for others. His ability to help others was surpassed only by his caring spirit that one could feel when around this very special person.

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  • posted by Kelly Hope Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:53

    I’d be remiss if I did not acknowledge the heaviness I feel as a result of the untimely and unfortunate passing of our beloved Jose. Without a doubt, Jose impacted and helped shape our on-campus orientation and was instrumental in the creation and launching of our revised on-line orientation program (housed in Blackboard). Jose’s on-campus Blackboard/My CommNet workshop proved to be one of the most impactful workshops for our students. His calm demeanor, commitment to making sure students were prepared with activated e-mails and tips to log into Blackboard and MyCommnet was invaluable and surely leaves a void at the college and within our orientation program. We are currently exploring ways in which we may be able to uphold the standard Jose set for ensuring our students are introduced and prepared to use Blackboard and MyCommnet.

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  • posted by Joe Jenecaro Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:52

    Being Jose’s “office neighbor” in Beacon Hall, I saw him nearly every day. Everything that’s been said is so true—he was always upbeat, positive, and pleasant—with a great smile. And Jose was always very helpful to both students and staff. His parting is a great loss on many levels. Adding his name to the Distance Learning Center and also establishing a Scholarship in his name are great ideas. I am certainly among those that would like to contribute once such a Scholarship is established. We are all the better for having known Jose.

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  • posted by Rebecca Adams Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:50

    Jose was such a kind presence at HCC. He was hardworking and the consummate professional; he never "dropped the ball" and was always someone you could count on, knowing he would follow through to completion whatever problem or issue or new idea with which you happened to present him.

    Jose was more than this, though. He was a straight up good person. He never complained. He handled very stressful situations without comment, without giving in to the temptation, if he ever felt such temptation, to badmouth anyone....to affix blame on anyone. Not Jose----he wasn't like that. He was always positive and kind. He was alwyas looking for the way to fix the problem, to acheive the goal.

    I would love for the Distance Learning Center to become the Jose Labrador Distance Learning Center. I'd love to have a scholarship in Jose's name, as well. I want to contribute to it right now! Maybe we can think, as a community, about what kind of qualifications we'd want to support with such a scholarship. I am thinking that maybe we could give it to a student who embodied the kinds of values Jose represented: hard work, positive attitude, kindness, humor, follow through. What have I forgotten?

    In closing, I'd like to give you the English translation of the beautiful poem shared by Barbara Richards: Elegia a Ramon Sije, by Miguel Hernandez. While certainly most pure and beautiful in Spanish, Jose's native tongue, the words of this poem (in any language) truly hit on the grief we all feel.

    Elegía a Ramón Sijé
    El rayo que no cesa, 1936
    Elegy to Ramon Sijé
    Unceasing lightning


    (In Orihuela, his town and mine, death has taken from me,
    as if struck by lightning, Ramón Sijé, with whom I shared so much love.)

    I want to be, crying, the peasant
    that works the earth you occupy and fertilise,
    companion of my soul, so soon.

    My grief without instrument feeds
    the rains, makes horns and organs sound,
    and to the dispirited poppies

    I will give your heart as food.
    So much pain gathers in my side,
    that it even pains me to breathe.

    A hard slap, a frozen blow,
    an invisible and murderous stroke of the axe,
    a brutal shove has brought you down.

    There is nothing longer than my wound,
    I weep for all my misfortunes
    and I feel more for your death than for my own life.

    I walk on the stubble of the dead,
    and with warmth from no-one and unconsolable,
    I make my way from my heart to my daily business.

    So soon death has risen up in flight,
    so soon dawn has dawned,
    so soon you are rolling on the ground.

    I cannot forgive that lover, death,
    I cannot forgive thoughtless life,
    I cannot forgive the earth, nor the void.

    In my hands I raise a storm
    of strident stones, bolts of lightning and axes,
    thirsting and hungering for catastrophes.

    I want to scrape at the earth with my teeth,
    I want to split the earth apart bit by bit
    with dry, hot bites.

    I want to mine into the earth until I find you
    and kiss your noble skull
    and take your shroud from you and bring you back.

    You will come back to my garden and my fig tree:
    among the high flowery trellises
    your soul will flit like a bee in its hive

    sewn with the wax of angels.
    You will come back to the murmuring
    of farm-workers at their beloveds’ windows.

    You will cheer up the shadow over my eyebrows,
    and from either side your beloved and the bees
    will argue over your blood.

    Your heart, now wrinkled velvet,
    calls my greedy lovers’ voice
    to a field of foaming almonds.

    I want to be with you under the winged souls
    of the roses of the cream-coloured almond tree,
    for we have many things to talk of,
    companion of my soul, my companion.

    10 January 1936

    This translation is provided via the website There are Nightingales that Sing which is sponsored by
    Asociación Cultural Orihuela 2010.

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  • posted by Kathy Kurzatkowski Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:48

    Jose was a kind and caring professional, friend and teacher. He walked me through times of "total fog" and helped me to understand and use Blackboard and then working with Cengage. I will truly miss him, his caring and patience. He was a friend and someone that has made a great impact on us all.
    Kathy Kurzatkowski, Adjunct

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  • posted by Frederick M. Tapper Tuesday, 05 January 2016 20:46

    I was such a shock, I could not reply until today.
    He had just written me a thank you letter.

    I saw him leave on his last day. He wished everyone a pleasant holiday and said he was going away for the holidays.

    The next day, my phone rang, and I found out about our loss.

    God Bless Jose

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